Economic Prosperity

Too Many Hassles, Not Enough Freedom

Thirty-four years ago, President Ronald Reagan asked Americans if they were “better off today than [they] were four years ago?”  I believe Arkansans going to the polls this November should ask themselves a similar question: Are you better off today than when Barack Obama became president?

Here are the trends (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9/25/14):

 

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There are too many hassles, in the form of taxes, regulations and apathy, coming from President Obama’s federal government, limiting the freedom of Arkansans small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Fourth District has an unemployment rate of 9.4%, higher than nearly every neighboring congressional district from another state.  Furthermore, almost half of the counties in the Fourth District have a higher unemployment rate than the state average.

We must lessen the hassles for Arkansas businesses, not figure out new ways for the government to be involved.  By doing so, Arkansans will have more freedom to build a small business, grow it by hiring Arkansas workers, and be able to pass it on to the next generation.


Economy


HASSLE: Over six years after the initial application was filed, the Keystone XL pipeline continues to be delayed by President Obama, affecting Arkansas jobs, including the pipe-making facility in Little Rock, where the pipes are stacked up like cord wood.

FREEDOM:  Pass legislation removing the requirement for presidential approval for building Keystone XL and let construction begin.

Note: The Northern Route Approval Act (HR 3) passed the House on May 22, 2013.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

HASSLE:  Arkansas’s Natural Gas industry is being prevented from competing on the global market by the Department of Energy, which unfairly delays approval of export applications, making our European partners and Japan more reliant on Russian exports.

FREEDOM:  Amend the Natural Gas Act to increase natural gas exports to NATO allies, European IPAP partners, and Japan even if no Free Trade Agreement is present between our countries, thereby increasing the ability of Arkansas natural gas producers to export globally and increasing job prospects in this important industry.

Note: The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (HR 6) passed the House on June 25, 2014.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

HASSLE: Obamacare’s employer mandate, and its continual patchwork delay by President Obama, is generating uncertainty for small businesses when it comes to hiring workers.  Returning veterans are also facing difficulty in finding good-paying jobs due to the Obama economy.

FREEDOM:  Exempt veterans receiving TRICARE (from the VA) from the employer mandate.  Since veterans receiving TRICARE do not need employer-provided insurance benefits, small business owners can hire out-of-work veterans without running afoul of the unfair 50-employee threshold under Obamacare.

Note: The Hire More Heroes Act (HR 3474) passed the House on March 11, 2014.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

HASSLE:  Under Obamacare, the definition of “full-time employee” has changed to someone working at least 30 hours per week, resulting in lower wages and fewer hours worked. 

FREEDOM:  Repeal this provision of Obamacare and return to the 40-hour, full-time, work week.

Note: The Save American Workers Act (HR 2575) passed the House on April 3, 2014.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.


HASSLE:  Under President Obama's EPA, small streams and ditches would be regulated even if they are miles away from navigable waters, even if they are dry most of the time.  This unfair expansion of power defies common sense and puts the livelihoods of Arkansas farmers in jeopardy.

FREEDOM: Prohibit the US Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA from changing the definition of the ‘Waters of the United States’ under the Clean Water Act.

Note: The Water of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (HR 5078) passed the House on September 9, 2014.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

HASSLE:  Unaccountable executive agencies make regulations that unfairly impose an undue burden on the economy.

FREEDOM:  Push for stronger requirements for regulatory impact analysis on proposed executive agency regulations to see if they 1) are needed, and 2) impose an undue burden on the economy before they are adopted.

Note: The Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (HR 367) passed the House on August 2, 2013.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

HASSLE:  Cattle ranchers, developers and rural communities are being unfairly treated by the Obama administration by his liberal use of the Antiquities Act to declare national monuments without public review or congressional oversight.

FREEDOM: Prohibit the President from making declarations in a state without permission from Congress; prohibit declarations that impact private property without the consent of the owner; require a feasibility study that includes a fiscal impact report to Congress; require public input for such declarations.

Note: The Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act (HR 1459) passed the House on March 26, 2014.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

Taxes


HASSLE:  Reading and understanding the Income Tax Code.

FREEDOM:  Streamline the tax code, making it fairer and simpler by increasing the standard deduction so that most taxpayers no longer need to itemize their deductions and reducing its size, resulting in the reduction of loopholes.
 

HASSLE:  The Internal Revenue Service is an agency that is out of control, targeting Americans based upon their political beliefs.

FREEDOM:  Continue to conduct oversight of the IRS, getting to the bottom of the targeting scandal and ensuring Americans are free to defend their political beliefs free from government interference.


HASSLE: 
Working families that have built a successful business are unfairly punished by the so-called “estate tax,” which inhibits their ability to pass farms and businesses along from one generation to the next. 

FREEDOM:  Repeal of the “Death tax.”
 

HASSLE:  The child tax credit was never indexed to inflation, and has remained the same since 2004 despite the increasing cost of raising children (groceries, higher education, child care, etc.).

FREEDOM:  Expand the child tax credit by increasing the threshold income level at which the credits phases out, raise the base amount of the credit, and index the credit to inflation in order to treat working families fairly.

Note: The Child Tax Credit Improvement Act (HR 4395) passed the House on July 25, 2011.  Since then, it has joined 380 other House-passed bills piling up on the desk of Sen. Harry Reid.

 

HASSLE: America's corporate tax rate is the highest in the world (40%), incentivizing American businesses to invest overseas.

FREEDOM:  Reduce the corporate tax rate to become competitive with other industrialized nations and incentivize American companies to invest in and expand domestic facilities in order to put more American citizens to work.

 

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Bruce Westerman for Congress | PO Box 21097 | Hot Springs, AR 71903